Universal's R-rated comedy tops box office

Universal’s Sacha Baron Cohen mockumentary “Bruno” lured in moviegoers Friday, collecting an estimated $14.2 million from 2,756 venues — a wunderbar first day opening for an R-rated comedy.

“Bruno” is Baron Cohen’s second mockumentary feature stateside to focus on one of the comedian’s characters from his HBO skein “Da Ali G Show” after 2006’s “Borat.” Where “Borat” followed the American travels of a bumbling TV Reporter from Kazakhstan, “Bruno” centers on Baron Cohen’s gay fashionista personality who tries to make a name for himself in Hollywood. “Borat,” also R-rated, bowed to $9.2 million off 837 on its first day, before posting an opening weekend of $26.5 million.

“Borat” charted a per theater of $11,302 on its first day while “Bruno” chalked up $5,145. “Borat” would go on to final at $125.8 million at the domestic B.O.

Produced and financed by Media Capital Rights, Universal acquired the distribution rights to “Bruno” for $42.5 million in the U.S. and select overseas markets.

“Bruno” is the third R-rated comedy to date this summer which has had a wide release, following Warner Bros.’ “The Hangover” and Summit’s “Next Day Air.” To date, “The Hangover” has been having an impressive run among all demos. The laffer posted $16.7 million on its first day and $45 million in its opening weekend. Yesterday, “Hangover” slotted sixth with $3.1 million off 3,002, dipping 32%, with a domestic haul of $215.6 million.

While the adults were watching “Bruno” at the multiplex, kids took in Fox’s “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” which grossed $8.4 million in second off 4,102, repping a 51% decline and crossing the century mark with a running domestic B.O. of $100.5 million.

Third belonged to Paramount’s “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” which earned $7.6 million off 4,293, down 58% for a running domestic cume in its third Friday of $322.6 million.

Universal’s Michael Mann gangster pic “Public Enemies” generated $4.3 million in its third Friday, down 57% on 3,336 and raising its B.O. total to $56.7 million.

Disney’s Sandra Bullock-Ryan Reynolds romantic comedy “The Proposal” ranked fifth with $3.5 million, down 33% on 3,158 for a domestic B.O. take of $106.8 million.

The second wide release yesterday was Fox’s teen romantic comedy “I Love You, Beth Cooper” which drew $2.1 million off 1,858 in seventh place. Directed by Chris Columbus, pic stars Hayden Panettiere of NBC’s “Heroes” and comedian Paul Rust, an alum of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in Los Angeles.

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